You know there are literally about 5 million work out programs available out there on the internet, in magazines and so forth. I’ve been writing my own programs for a long time, since looong before I ever thought about become qualified as a personal trainer… for the people who follow programs from the internet or magazines though, I always wonder what their selection criteria might be, what makes them choose one program over another.
If you’ve followed this blog for a while you’ll know I do switch up my programs quite regularly and I utilise different approaches at different times. And of course the experience and knowledge I’ve picked up from becoming qualified, working as a trainer and discussing training with other knowledgeable trainers has influenced my programs a lot too. So, I’m not really set in my ways like some kind of closed minded guy who thinks he knows it all and only wants to do it his way, and won’t listen to anyone else.
What’s important for me in making my own programs is that they are matched specifically to a goal I am trying to achieve at the time. For example, it may be to burn off fat and get nice and lean for summer. Or it may be to increase strength, or muscle mass. On top of having the overall goal we also need to select the right exercises, amount of sets, and amount of reps per set.
So as you can see there are a LOT of parameters to consider when putting together or choosing a program. So… really it’s just easier for me to put my own program together, because I know what I want! In choosing a program that I didn’t write though, the question I would keep asking is “why?”
Why those exercises, why that rep range, and why that amount of sets?
Now a lot of programs will come with an article explaining all of this, so it’s not always just blind faith. But my point is that an exercise program should not just be a randomly selected set of exercises and rep ranges. I think a lot of the time people will search for a program, find something and think “wow, that’s really hardcore”… but will it help you reach a goal in your training? That is the big question!
Balance and symmetry.
Regardless of if you’re looking for a strength program, fat burning program, or any other sort of program, balance and symmetry are the essential focal points. What I mean is, you need to be concious of devoting equal attention to opposing muscle groups, and perhaps extra attention to any lagging or undeveloped areas. Neglecting one area to over develop another can and will lead to poor posture and muscle imbalance, so it is crucial to have this in mind when creating or selecting a training program.